• Cambridge College Pros and Cons

TSR Wiki > University > Choosing a University > University Guides > Cambridge > Cambridge_College_Pros_and_Cons

Cambridge College Pros and Cons

This page (which you can edit) is part of The Student Room's information and advice about Oxford and Cambridge (known collectively as Oxbridge). Whilst the two universities have have much in common, they also have many differences. Our information on the application procedure and interviews applies to both.

If you have questions, or just want to chat, come join us in TSR's Oxford forum and Cambridge forum.

University of Oxford: Guide & Discussion Forum
How to choose a CollegeCollege Pros and Cons
A Week in the Life: of an Arts Student or of a Science Student
FAQ: CollegesApplyingUniversity Life

University of Cambridge: Guide & Discussion Forum
How to choose a CollegeCollege Pros and Cons
A Week in the Life: of an Arts Student or of a Science Student

As well as the Cambridge Uni Guide we have a page on Cambridge Slang. Also see Standard IB offers for Cambridge.

Courses (not all have pages): Anglo-Saxon, Norse and CelticEngineeringEnglishGeographyHistoryLawMathematicsModern and Medieval LanguagesMusicNatural SciencesPsychologyPolitics, Psychology and Sociology

Colleges: Christ'sChurchillClareClare Hall (graduates) • Corpus ChristiDarwin (graduates) • DowningEmmanuelFitzwilliamGirtonGonville and CaiusHomertonHughes Hall (mature) • JesusKing'sLucy Cavendish (mature. undergrads are female) • MagdaleneMurray Edwards (female) • Newnham (female) • PembrokePeterhouseQueens'RobinsonSt Catharine'sSt Edmund's (mature) • St John'sSelwynSidney SussexTrinityTrinity HallWolfson (mature)

Look at Personal Statements used to apply to Cambridge


Choosing a college can be difficult, and there are detailed guides for most Cambridge undergraduate colleges. Here is a brief overview of the main pros and cons of each college that may help you!

NB. The info on these pages may or may not be entirely accurate! If you have any specific requirements please check direct with the colleges. Refer to http://applytocambridge.com for the latest edition of the "Alternative Prospectus", and https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/colleges/choosing-a-college .

Contents

Christ's College

Pros

  • Great accommodation guaranteed for the duration of your course
  • Lots of grants given for "cultural nourishment" trips abroad ;)
  • Over two thirds of rooms are ensuite, and rooms that aren't ensuite are generally much larger to compensate for this (some rooms even have a mezzanine)
  • Incredibly friendly, lively atmosphere
  • Plans for a brand new £16m library to be built in the next few years
  • One of the academically strongest colleges in Cambridge: Averages 3rd place on the Tompkins and Baxter Tables over the past 20 years
  • Students can store some belongings in out of term storage, so they don't have to drag everything back home at the end of every term (good for international students)
  • If you get a first you get all sorts of privileges, such as being put in a separate room ballot, getting several free dinners, getting cheaper rent, getting invited to a couple of feasts, and a sizeable cash reward.
  • Lots of famous alumni such as Charles Darwin, John Milton and Sacha Baron Cohen
  • Very central - 30 seconds away from nearest club, literally 10m from a takeaway, 1-2 min to Nandos & Pizza Hut, 2 min to the nearest cinema, 5 min from Sainsbury's, very close to most lecture sites
  • Beautiful and peaceful gardens, some of the prettiest in Cambridge- hard to realise you are in the centre of town!
  • Newly refurbished outdoor swimming pool - oldest outdoor pool in Europe (great perk during the summer months even if it is unheated!)
  • Typewriter building is a great social advantage, with many first and second years so close together, all in the same building
  • Cosy and buzzing college bar, and it's the closest bar to all the clubs in Cambridge
  • Big theatre (recently renovated), where movies are shown regularly, at ridiculously low prices
  • Costa Coffee is served (at a discount on the normal high street price) in the bar
  • Fully equipped gym and squash courts within college, as well as another college gym in the boat house
  • Perfect size, not too big to feel unknown, still large enough to meet loads of new people
  • The common room has pool tables, table tennis tables and TVs
  • College cat, and dog
  • Admission's Tutor is very helpful and active on TSR

Cons

  • £155 for WiFi!
  • Lawn became infested with thousands of damaging Cockchafer beetles
  • College had significant failings in investigation of anti-Semitic abuse
  • Gender imbalance 58% male 42% female
  • Scholar's ballot makes it difficult for arts and humanities students to get good rooms in later years
  • Has library fines
  • Food could be better with lack of vegetables at Formal Hall
  • In the congested part of town
  • Really tiny corridors. Sometimes only 4 people so makes it difficult to get to know more people
  • Ugly "typewriter" building (I really like that building tho :') it reminds me of little nests)
  • Arts students: wrong side of town for the arts faculties on the Sidgwick site (actually not far, but not as close as many other colleges).

Churchill College

Pros

  • Big, modern, light rooms - most of the rooms are of the same standard and there are a lot on ensuites.
  • New Court was built in 2016 - all ensuite rooms with double beds.
  • No hidden accommodation costs
  • Biggest on-site playing fields of all colleges. Good gym, 4 squash courts, 5 tennis courts.
  • Very open plan - walk on all grass, large buildings, easy entry everywhere.
  • Highest ratio of sciences (70%) to arts (30%) students.
  • Very friendly porters.
  • Springball.
  • Friday Night Pav is very popular.
  • Games room with pool table, table tennis, piano and games machines
  • Not right in the centre of town, so you get less tourist traffic.
  • Food - food is generally really good, its self serve with about four different main options and ~5 different types of veg. Puddings are also great and not too expensive.

Cons

  • Worst gender ratio 71% male, 29% female
  • Highest ratio of sciences (70%) to arts (30%) students
  • Most expensive laundry in Cambridge
  • Very expensive bar and formals
  • JCR has a reputation for being fun police kicking people out of FB groups for humorous posts
  • Formals aren't as formal (you don't have to wear gowns!)
  • Failed to support creation of BME Officer
  • Consider ugly but not really that bad
  • College colours are pink and brown. Not a great combo
  • When it’s raining, the 10 minute cycle ride into town can be quite unpleasant

Clare College

Pros

  • Very cool underground college bar and JCR, Clare Cellars.
  • Really good weekly ents with a variety of student bands and DJs in the Cellars.
  • Nice fresher community in Memorial Court.
  • First year accommodation is right next to the University Library and two minutes from the humanities faculty buildings.
  • May Ball every year.
  • Really open, welcoming environment.
  • One of the strongest colleges for music - excellent choir and only college orchestra to play a termly concert in the university concert hall.
  • You can walk on the grass in Memorial Court.
  • College Gardens are among the prettiest in Cambridge
  • Position on the river
  • College owned punts
  • Old Court has the perfect balance of being detached from the town centre yet two minutes away.
  • Good mix of genders and private/state educated people.

Cons

  • Really expensive WiFi. £33 per term!
  • Most expensive college wine (£12 per bottle!)
  • 4th worst college regarding fining students (e.g. £1,205 - split between 5 students for a party)
  • Has library fines
  • Kitchens are very basic with no ovens or freezers
  • Very average, unimaginative food in canteen and not much choice
  • Accommodation is spread out so you might live far away from facilities such as the library, buttery and gym
  • Nobody showed up for an obligatory consent workshop during Fresher's Week
  • The view from Clare Bridge (oldest bridge in Cambridge) attracts a fair number of tourists to it.
  • Although it's central, the entrance is not as central as it could be as you have to walk round behind the Senate House so it often takes longer to get where you're going.
  • Old Court is pretty but relatively small and you are more likely to live in the less pretty Memorial Court or Clare Colony (which is not on the main site - it's on Chesterton Road)
  • The Library is not as nice as many other Colleges
  • The master got himself embroiled in a big golfing controversy by helping a top British golf club evict its old members and charge a £100,000 fee to rejoin

Clare Hall (graduates)

Pros

  • Modern buildings, spacious rooms
  • Large kitchens
  • Indoors swimming pool
  • Friendly atmosphere
  • Very good food
  • Graduates only

Cons

  • Graduates only
  • Informal - a con if you like Cambridge because of its traditions
  • A bit far away from town
  • Although the buildings are very comfortable on the inside, they are unattractive on the outside.
  • Believes in Jesus

Corpus Christi College

Pros

  • Very central - 2 minutes from town centre, 2 minutes from the Science faculties, 7 minutes from the Sidgewick (arts) site.
  • New library (just been built) - spacious, very well stocked and seems quite state-of-the-art, if quite dark
  • Very small (approx 80 students a year): this and Peterhouse are the smallest colleges. If you like to know everybody in your year and feel intimidated by the larger colleges, this is great.
  • Great accommodation for first years - you either live in New Court or Library Court, or right next to Corpus in Botolph or Benet Street. None of these ugly blocks miles away from the main college that other colleges seem to have.
  • Most Second years live in Newnham house (38 rooms) opposite Darwin College, or T-street (on Trumpington St opposite engineering) (23 rooms). Both of these are modern, T-Street was renovated in 2013, and is now super nice.
  • Third years live mainly on college site or in Benet/Botolph
  • Very old, attractive architecture
  • Has one of the most comfortable college bars and JCR in Cambridge. JCR TV has Sky Sports, Netflix and a PS3!
  • Get the chance to live in Old Court, the oldest court in all of Oxbridge, whose buildings are 600 years old (only Peterhouse's dining Hall, the oldest profane building in Europe, is older)
  • Large travel grants available if you travel for academic purposes - £500 is not uncommon. Great for geographers and MMLers, though recently such grants have been offered for less explicitly academic trips too i.e. 2014 trip to Turkey organised by Dean of Chapel. There are also sports grants and academic scholarships/prizes.
  • The Master and his wife are really, really lovely! And the same can certainly be said for the Dean of Chapel and the Senior Tutor - they all try to make you feel at home!
  • Large JCR budget - virtually all requests for Sports and Society funding granted.
  • Approx. 75.6% of undergraduates voted and 34 candidates ran in JCR elections 2014, one of the highest turnouts of any Cambridge college
  • Practically unlimited internet, with fantastic coverage across all accomodation! (albeit for £25 a term)
  • Gaining a reputation as having some of the best quality food around: formals are very high quality, and college hall food is generally better than most colleges - the fish being a particular speciality! Student favourites - like pasta and pizza dishes - have also been increasingly catered for thanks to the work of the 2016/17 JCR Catering Officer. Unlimited carbohydrate for a fixed price in hall!

Cons

  • Ridiculous guest policy! Fined quite heavily for having guests in your room and the punishments are severe for repeat offences
  • Gender imbalance 60% male 40% female - 2016 intake is the first 50/50 gender divide
  • College has massive deficits and is making deep cuts having lost £5,500,000 in 3 years
  • 7th most expensive college to live at
  • 10% hike in room rents
  • 2nd most expensive kitchen fixed charge
  • College wine isn't cheap
  • Not much ensuite accommodation available
  • Disaffiliated from the Cambridge University Student's Union
  • Very small: can feel a bit too insular and gossip gets around extraordinarily quickly
  • Pretty crap in terms of famous alumni, apart from obviously Christopher Marlowe. Not forgetting Hugh Bonneville!
  • The bar is closed to everyone except third years, and you can't use any other college's bar
  • Student rent raised dramatically in recent years - although it is still not much higher than the university average. It is increasing about 4% again in 2014/15
  • Some grumpy porters - though some really make you feel at home :)
  • The clock! Noisy from the library and a tourist magnet!
  • Not all accommodation on the main campus

Darwin College (graduates)

Pros

  • It's just graduate students
  • Beautiful grounds, good river access and lots of punts
  • Everything operates year-round, rather than being really busy in term time and dead in the vacs - DarBar (the college bar) is busy all the time.
  • The fellows and the students eat the same food, therefore it is of a edible/good standard

Cons

  • It's just graduate students
  • Some of the accommodation desperately needs modernising
  • All colleges have their eccentricities, but they're pretty odd at Darwin
  • The communication during the application process is somewhat *sketchy*

Downing College

Pros

  • Known for amazing accommodation, hotel standard in first year. Basically all accomodation is on main site, so you'll never be a 25 minute walk away from your library like those at Tit Hall.
  • Beautiful paddock
  • Very peaceful, despite the fact that it is quite centrally located
  • A couple of minutes away from the centre
  • Very green with big open spaces
  • Off usual tourist track
  • All accommodation either on-site or very nearby so even when you're in a house you can still use all the college facilities.
  • Right next to the Downing site and New Museums site (as well as the Chemistry department), so very good for scientists!
  • Surrounded by restaurants - Nando, Pizza Express, Charlie Chan (only Dim Sum restaurant in central Cambridge), NannaMexico, Pizza Organic, the Varsity Restaurant, Pizza Hut, Zizzi.
  • 'Spoons is just down the road.
  • Parker's Piece (park) only 30 seconds across the road.
  • Library designed using Golden Ratio
  • John Cleese went there
  • If you want to sue someone, there are so many Lawyers around you'd get a competitive price.
  • Sporty college (good results over the past couple of years in rowing, football and rugby)
  • CULTC (lawn tennis club) nearby
  • I'll re-emphasise how beautiful the grounds are for added effect.
  • Nick Griffin's Alma Mater.

Cons

  • Nick Griffin's Alma Mater
  • Most expensive accommodation of any college according to the Tab. You'll be paying almost twice as much as your friends at other colleges :(
  • 3rd worst gender ratio of the undergrad colleges 66% male, 34% female
  • You can only have guests twice per term
  • Scrapped its storage facilities for international students leaving them with no place to leave their belongings outside of term time
  • Food is really expensive (2nd highest in Cambridge)
  • Lack of tables and chairs in most kitchens
  • JCR elections breached election rules with outgoing officers messaging members of the college encouraging them to vote for specific individuals for election
  • You'll be swimming with sharks (lawyers), so better grow some tee
  • You can't walk on some of the grass
  • Library near bar - there can be noise if you're working late (esp in summer when windows are open).
  • They draw you in with good 1st Year accommodation but it gets worse in later years
  • Wrong side of town for the Sidgwick site / West Cambridge site (faculties) - not actually that far but not as near as many other colleges.

Emmanuel College

Pros

  • Each room has a mini fridge for you to store all kinds of goodies in!
  • 24 hour library.
  • Ents in the bar on Wednesdays.
  • Does well in the Tompkins table.
  • The ducks. =P
  • Lots of open space and grass to walk or have a picnic on
  • Its location: close enough to the shops and the Downing Site (like what's been said in the prospectus - "a stone's throw away"), but far enough to hide from the masses of tourists each day.
  • The only college to offer a free laundry service in Cambridge, so no need to do your own if laundry isn't your kind of thing.
  • Probably has the cheapest college bar of them all.
  • Amazing welfare provision in the summer - bouncy castle, free yoga classes, Thai massages, mug painting on the paddock and the college Wii.
  • The college shop, selling stash, stationery, sweets, crisps and drinks all for cheaper than you'd find anywhere in town.
  • Graham Chapman went here, as did John Harvard (yes, that Harvard)
  • Has a swimming pool

Cons

  • 3rd worst college for state school access with only 53.3% coming from state schools
  • Swimming pool isn't heated
  • The College Drinking Society invited members to go out and 'smash the girls'
  • New freshers get thrown in the pond
  • You can't walk on the grass in the front court
  • Has library fines
  • There are very few ovens so self-catering can be difficult
  • Drinks in the bar are watered down
  • Internet connection cuts out occasionally
  • Wrong side of town for the Sidgwick site (arts) / West Cambridge site (Physics) - not actually that far but not as near as many other colleges.

Fitzwilliam College

Pros

  • Friendly and supportive atmosphere.
  • Excellent theatre and sport facilities: pitches and a tennis court are very close to college, squash courts are in college. Also badminton court.
  • Some kitchen space in college, so self-catering can be done, all 3rd years and 2nd years have ovens. Most 1st year accommodation has ovens.
  • Truly beautiful gardens. Unlike most colleges, you can walk on some of the grass!
  • Lack of pretentiousness.
  • Close to the West Cambridge site. Close to Aldi, Iceland and the Coop.
  • Out of the way of busy tourist places in the summer - you are never disturbed by people wandering through college aimlessly like in central colleges.
  • Reasonably spacious.
  • Brand new, very good library with IT rooms and access and lending 24/7.
  • Brand new gym, open since September 2015, which college members can use for free - also currently being updated.
  • New Boat House on the river with a BC that is well represented at all levels.
  • Good access to communal spaces - free pool and table football in the JCR and Wii/Sky Sports in the TV room.
  • One of the best cafes in Cambridge - turns into a bar at night.
  • Some very modern buildings.
  • Can accommodate everyone who wants to be on site for all 3 years, but also has some college houses that are very close to the main site. Also has room for grads. All third years have en-suite bathrooms.
  • Half of the first year accommodation was recently renovated (summer 2015 and 2016) to a very high standard.
  • Has large bi-annual Fitz Up Look Sharp ent which is well-attended by Fitz students, other hill colleges and (some) central colleges.


Cons

  • 5th worst gender ratio of the undergrad colleges 63% male 37% female
  • 3rd worst college regarding fining students (e.g. £240 for bringing college into disrepute)
  • Out of the town centre, quickest route home is uphill, but this forces you to do some exercise in your daily routine
  • Looks like a prison
  • Architecture of buildings can take some getting used to: brutalist Lasdun architecture isn't everyone's cup of tea - but it grows on you!
  • There was a snake on the loose
  • First year accommodation is quite small but college is working on making the corridor communal spaces much larger in renovation plans (2015 onwards).
  • Food served in the buttery is reasonably expensive and can sometimes be hit and miss, but has been improving.
  • Friends at other colleges typically want you to go to them rather than them coming to you because they think that you're too far out (we're not really!)
  • Has library fines

Girton College

Pros

  • Indoor heated swimming pool
  • Really good college community - because it's further out people really spend time together and gel
  • Not as pushy academically as some of the other colleges, but people still get good grades
  • Not pretentious - You can walk on the grass
  • The cycle in and out gives you some time to wake up/clear your head after a hard day's work
  • Sports pitches are on-site, including squash and tennis courts.
  • Nice gardens
  • HM Queen Margaret II went here (the nice lady responsible for all the beautiful woodcuts in Lord of the Rings)
  • Accommodation isn't allocated based on academic performance.
  • 5 minute walk from the co-op.
  • Bar serves until midnight and stays open until 1-2am
  • Beautiful college library with one of the most extensive collections for English
  • The food is great in the canteen and the student kitchens are among the best (most equipped) of any college

Cons

  • Furthest college out. Not good if you don't want a 10-15 minute cycle in the mornings
  • Difficult if you have large gaps between lectures as you get stuck in town - not worth cycling back
  • Difficult to persuade friends from other colleges to come and visit - they can't 'drop in' easily
  • Accommodation and laundry is relatively expensive
  • Library closes at 11pm (not great if you'd like to use it in the early hours, but computer rooms stay open 24/7).

Gonville and Caius College

Pros

  • Very central location right next to Great St. Mary's Church
  • All 1st years live together so it's very social and you get to know your year group very well, and all rooms are modern/spacious/ensuite (also conveniently located right next to the University Library + Sidgwick site - great for Humanities students!)
  • Accommodation in 2nd and 3rd year within or around main college site in centre of town - a good range of rooms allowing you to decide how much rent you want to pay (a decent number of rooms are "sets" - i.e. you get a living room as well as a bedroom)
  • Small but beautiful college site. Doesn't tend to attract many tourists despite its central location: a small haven amongst the bustle of King's Parade/Trinity Street.
  • Stunning, airy library right next to Senate House
  • The canteen arrangements (you have to eat together in hall a certain number of nights per term) means there's a strong vibrant community spirit.
  • 'Formal formal' a few times a term in addition to more relaxed formals 6 nights a week.
  • Free internet access and wifi
  • Pretty great, very 'Cambridge' May Ball.
  • Free garden party put on in May Week
  • Very good if you like rowing (richest college boat club with its own new boathouse opened in 2016)
  • Large undergraduate body so college sports clubs are well-established - one of the stronger colleges for inter-college sport and there's enough people to join you if you only want something more casual
  • Availability of generous grants/bursaries for buying books, sport, summer research work and holiday travel
  • Friendly and up for a laugh porters.
  • Has the nicest and most distinctive gown of all the Colleges (navy with black velvet trim as opposed to the ubiquitous and dull black everyone else seems to have). Most expensive gown, but the dining requirement means you get a lot of use out of it!
  • Well-rewarded if you get a first in any year: you get priority choice of accommodation, generous financial awards; Perse feast - you get invited to an 8 course meal complete with whiskey tasting and choir (one invite per person).
  • Many notable fellows/alumni: Stephen Hawking (sometimes comes to Hall!), James Chadwick, Francis Crick, John Venn, Kenneth Clarke, Jimmy Carr.
  • Lots of Tories (lots of CUCA members; Kenneth Clark, MP went here)


Cons

  • Lots of Tories (lots of CUCA members; Kenneth Clark, MP went here)
  • 10% increase in rent and 6% increase in food prices
  • Gender imbalance 60% male 40% female
  • 5th worst college for state school access with only 56.4% coming from state schools
  • 2nd worst college regarding fining students
  • Canteen arrangements where you have to eat in hall 36 times per term
  • College’s hall received one of the worst hygiene ratings in Cambridge
  • College food USED TO BE awful and very expensive
  • Not great vegetarian options
  • Expensive bar
  • Small main college site
  • No ovens or freezers in most accommodation, but there are microwaves, kettles, toasters, fridges and hobs.
  • Some accommodation in 2nd year is quite far out.
  • Split between 2 sites (though the walk between them - over the river via King's or Clare - is lovely and only takes 10 mins)

Homerton College

Pros

  • Voted "friendliest college in Cambridge"
  • Largest college in terms of student numbers, although Trinity is slightly bigger if you count fellows.
  • On-site accommodation for everyone. Mostly ensuite. West House (houses all freshers) is all ensuite. Rooms cleaned weekly
  • Informal,welcoming atmosphere. We're allowed to walk on the grass, and the only time when a gown is required is graduation.
  • Near to Nandos, The Junction, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Chiquito, Cinema etc only 2 minute walk
  • Large, modern library well stocked and open 24/7 (with student card)
  • The Union of Students (HUS) is one of the most active and has only full-time sabbatical student President in Cambridge
  • Good sporting clubs - with Football, Ultimate frisbee, Rowing, Rugby, Tennis, Badminton, Cricket, Netball etc (>14 sports) Sports pitch, squash court and Croquet pitch on site. New College Gym
  • Strong drama scene - very active drama society within college (HATS) + well represented in uni-wide societies (ADC, Footlights)
  • The Music society(HCMS) puts on several concerts each term. 6 Music practice rooms and a collection of instruments in College
  • Ethical food policy (locally sourced etc). Staff paid at least living wage + none on zero-hours contracts
  • Beautiful main victorian building and the Great Hall is impressive too
  • Closest college to Biomedical campus(inc.Addenbrookes Hospital) and the Education Faculty
  • Lots of open green space including some rare trees and plants. Close to the Cambridge Botanical gardens too
  • Lots of buses, easy to get into town
  • Hall food is good. Large portions
  • Best graduate employment rate of any Cambridge college
  • No tourists

Cons

  • The location. 10-minute cycle into town and busy roads on route. *Not as far as map suggests*
  • Uni4 bus service no longer goes past college
  • Friends from other colleges always want you to visit them in town rather than coming out to Homerton.
  • People always assume that you were pooled rather than choosing it.
  • 2nd most expensive formals in Cambridge
  • Food is overpriced and the bar isn't cheap
  • High laundry costs
  • Cancelled all bops for a year after excrement, urine and vomit were found
  • People always assume that you're studying Education (even if you're not)
  • Not on the river

Hughes Hall (mature students, undergraduates and graduates)

Pros

  • Located next to Mill Road, which has an international feel to it with international food stores and the annual Mill Road Fair.
  • Pleasant postgraduate atmosphere since it is is composed of students who are 21+ years. No unnecessary noise and drunk students are a rare sight.
  • Leafy 'campus' with garden feel.
  • Great accommodation including the stunning Gresham Building which overlooks Fenner's cricket ground.
  • Very informal atmosphere and no need for gowns for matriculation or formals. Infact, the only time you will ever need a gown is when you are attending your graduation.
  • Excellent food and includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Formal hall is very informal. There is no high table and one can sit anywhere. You do not need a gown to attend a formal hall.
  • The Library is open 24/7 and the librarians are very warm and pleasant. They even provide coloring books and crayons for de-stressing during exam periods.
  • Guaranteed free tea and cakes every Sunday at 3pm, courtesy of the MCR.
  • Vibrant sports community ranging from football to rowing.
  • Located next to Parkside Pools and gyms, Outlook Gym and Parker's piece.
  • The lovely college cat, Charley aka Hugh.
  • Very friendly and casual staff and tutors.
  • Largest intake of MBA and PCGE students.

Cons

  • One of the newer colleges so it is not well known.
  • Postgraduate and mature undergrad only
  • Located far from other colleges and far from the Sidgwick site for humanities students

Jesus College

Pros

  • Lots of interesting art and sculpture about the place
  • Huge grounds with the sports pitches right next to the college
  • All 3 years accommodation within college or on the adjacent roads (Jesus Lane, Park St, Malcolm St)
  • Modern, spacious 24hr library
  • Free washing machines
  • JCR Common room has good TV/xbox/pool table
  • Free full size snooker table/dart boards
  • Does well in sports, especially rugby, football and rowing
  • Has the oldest college building in Cambridge; the Chapel dates from the dates from the twelfth century
  • Very peaceful with lots of green, open spaces.
  • Boat house is very near by if you're a prospective rower.
  • A lot of the college accommodation has been recently renovated so the accommodation is of a very high standard.
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge went here
  • Jesus College Music Society (JCMS) makes Jesus one of the strongest Colleges in Cambridge for music - with an orchestra, unauditioned choir, and a number of other ensembles, there's a weekly recital series as well as the termly concert. Famous musicians come to play at Jesus every so often too!
  • One of the top Chapel Choirs in Cambridge. For men, evensong is four times a week: there is also the option to sing both with women and with boy choristers - so is a great option for those who are serious about singing but don't want the commitment to singing every day as at King's and John's. For women, evensong is twice a week - you get to sing with a choir with a great reputation!
  • Probably the cheapest formal in Cambridge - three courses (wine not included - but it's BYOB) for under £7!

Cons

  • Gender imbalance 57% male 43% female
  • Slightly more expensive college bar, in relative terms
  • Not as near as many other colleges to many of the faculties
  • Not a good option if you don't like random sculptures around - some of the modern art can spoil the setting a bit if it's not to your taste.
  • Constant jokes about the name - good if you're a Christian though!
  • Expensive food and high kitchen fixed charge (£175 per term) - although food is generally of a very high quality

King's College

Pros

  • Very diverse and friendly - high state school intake, strong sense of community and unpretentious, relaxed atmosphere.
  • High Fellow to student ratio and debate encouraged (esp on politics, sociology, economics etc).
  • One of the most sociable colleges with v active Student Union, great ents, popular bar, mad keen mountaineering and kayaking association, King's Drama and loads of random fun.
  • Arguaby the best College bar atmosphere in Cambridge (affected by the fact that all accommodation is close so it is well used) plus open mic nights and quality student-run club nights in the underground "Bunker".
  • Proper Hogwarts hall and 24/7 library.
  • Has an Art Centre with a resident artist who runs classes, and a dark room for photographers
  • Both central and on the river: has College-owned punts and kayaks, good riverside spots for a natter and general river fun.
  • Very musical, has large music library,good support for musicians, music database to encourage group forming, and good variety of music and formal/informal music-making.
  • "Chapel chill-out" and garden keep fit sessions in exam term.
  • Alan Turing, Robert Walpole, Salman Rushdie, and John Keynes all went here
  • Closest to Cambridge Market (cheap food, electronics, bicycles, etc.)
  • New College Gym
  • Smoking permitted in some accommodation; Smoke-free policy in conference rooms and in rooms renovated since 2010

Cons

  • Gender imbalance 57% male 43% female
  • £25 noise violation fine
  • Tourists flood the college gate
  • Communist. Seriously! There's a communist flag in the bar
  • Over 100 members of staff weren’t paid the living wage
  • Culled their population of geese
  • You can't walk on the main lawns except for special occasions (though there is a huge, private, garden as well as lawn by the river and riverbank where you can go on the grass)
  • Accommodation isn't as impressive as you'd expect
  • Formals are the most expensive in Cambridge
  • College wine is very expensive
  • Formals are only once a week and tickets are limited, getting them is like getting festival tickets
  • Porters are absolutely horrible and extremely anal about who goes in/out because of all the tourists

Lucy Cavendish (mature students, female undergraduates)

Pros

  • Supportive atmosphere in an all-women's environment
  • Lucy Cavendish is a female college, so you can be friends with plenty of girls and boys at the uni, but you will only live with girls
  • All fellows are women and there are no high tables in halls, unlike the other more traditional colleges
  • A high proportion of students from 'ordinary'/working-class backgrounds with varied life experiences
  • Enjoys a particularly good reputation for English, HSPS, Linguistics, Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine
  • Great atmosphere for students in STEM fields, there is a large community of science students and many tutors and fellows who are currently holding faculty position in science departments
  • Very close to West Cambridge (Department of Veterinary Medicine, Whittle Laboratory, Cavendish Laboratory, British Antarctic Survey, Computer-Aided Design Centre, Schlumberger Cambridge Research, William Gates Building, Roger Needham Building, Schofield Centre, Nanoscale Science Laboratory, Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics (CAPE), Centre for the Physics of Medicine, Alan Reece Building, Hauser Forum, Department of Materials Science, University Sports Centre)
  • Location is very good for arts students- it's very close to the Sidgwick Site (ten minutes walk) and is also close to some of the 'big' colleges, such as St. John's, Trinity, Magdalene, Queens. It's only a short walk into the town centre.
  • If mingling with the opposite sex is a problem, St Edmund's College is literally next door (composed mostly of male students and they host some of the best social events!)
  • College has a Library open 24/7 (the University Library shuts at 7pm), with friendly librarians who will always help you to get the books you need
  • The college has the most helpful porters - nothing is too much trouble for them.
  • The college gardens (with loads of benches, tables etc.) are lovely to sit in/study/chat with friends. There is no "sacred grass" so you can really enjoy these gardens.
  • Choice at lunch time: 2 hot main, fresh vegetables potatoes, rice pasta or couscous, Baked Potatoes and fillings, home made soup, 6 salads, cold main course items, pudding, fresh fruit, yogurts, biscuits, nuts and dried snacks, fruit juice , smoothies, tea coffee chocolate. Theme suppers on Tuesdays. Take away available for those that cannot make meal times and Grab a bag for those that wish to take lunch with them to lectures. Brunch on Saturday and Sunday Roast.
  • The is a gym onsite, which will receive new machines this year
  • Lucy Cavendish offers many off-site accommodation options for graduate students in a wide range of prices, some are very cheap for Cambridge standards. All the rooms are really nice, even the cheapest ones, and there is kitchens, living rooms, washing machines, and driers in the building.
  • Lucy Cavendish has relatively new accommodation, and really new accommodation (less than one year). Therefore, the rooms are in great conditions. Some of the oldest buildings do look really nice but students do experience the problems of living in a building that was originally built in the middle ages.
  • Lucy Cavendish is one of the colleges that gives the most funding per students, and it offers plenty of grants for research and research-related travel. It is also one of the colleges with the highest number of Gates scholars.
  • In average everyone is pretty young and in their early/mid-twenties, which is not the case in the other mature colleges
  • [EU and international students] If you're unlikely to be able to travel to Cambridge for interview, no problem! Just let them know and they'll interview you via skype. The're extremely flexible, supportive and attentive.
  • They offer generous financial support to students from poorer backgrounds.

Cons

  • The highest Minimum Meal Charge (MMC) of any college (£399!). This means your university card is arbitrarily pre-loaded with £399 of your precious money at the beginning of the year and you're forced into spending it at the college canteen. (The argument for the MMC is that it encourages people to eat communally and interact socially, and if only limited numbers ate there it would not be viable to keep it going. It comes out at around £12 per week, which can be spent on any meals or guests.) But the money will be deleted at the end of the year if it is not used up!
  • Food is a bit hit and miss and food in canteen is limited - paying near the 5 quid mark for beans and potatoes isn't uncommon and ethnic food isn't often catered for (eg special nights for Indian, Thai food etc). You need to get into the canteen quick as they often run out of food...
  • College bar is often closed
  • The college is very small which is good for getting to know everyone, but some people might not like it
  • Literally nothing wrong with this one

Magdalene College

Pros

  • Cheapest formal in Cambridge but still good food, candlelit, very atmospheric, and held every evening
  • Food hall (Ramsay) serves cheap but nice food e.g. full English breakfast for under £2
  • Very friendly and small enough you can know everyone if you want to
  • Friendly porters
  • Far enough out that there are very few tourists but still 5 mins walk from Sainsbury's, so fairly central
  • Most river frontage of all colleges and has a 'beach'
  • Allowed to walk on the grass in the Fellows' Garden, beautiful flowers and inspiring place to revise!
  • College-owned punts for undergraduate and graduate students
  • Music practice rooms that anyone can use
  • Two college gyms (cardio and weights)
  • The only (compulsorily) white-tie May Ball, but see "con" below
  • Eton fives court - this is the only college fives court in Cambridge; there are three more in the Sports Centre though
  • Monty Don went here
  • Accommodation all on or around main site (across Magdalene Street or Chesterton Road), 'village' atmosphere
  • Banned Labour posters during the election

Cons

  • Banned Labour posters during the election
  • Charges for WiFi
  • Last to accept women in 1988 (was protested by men wearing black armbands)
  • 2nd worst college for state school access with only 50.6% coming from state schools
  • The Gentlemen Wyverns of Magdalene College used to have an annual Garden Party, which until 2013 featured naked girls wrestling in paddling pools of jelly
  • May Ball tickets and hiring white tie outfit very expensive (most expensive in Cambridge), and only held once every 2 years, but attendance not compulsory
  • Very expensive kitchen fixed charge
  • JCR web page very rarely updated
  • Balloting site missing a large amount of basic information
  • Proposed construction of the new library will require the demolition of a large stretch of greenery
  • President-elect resigned after trying to manipulate the results of the JCR elections
  • Has library fines
  • You get a lot of tourists on the Magdalene Bridge

Murray Edwards (female)

Pros

  • Not an insular college - people know a lot of people from other colleges.
  • Community with the hill colleges - Fitz and Churchill. They share a lot of ents together.
  • Relaxed atmosphere - gowns not compulsory for formals and you can walk on whatever grass you like.
  • Largest collection of Women's Art in Europe, and second in the world! These are different from the classical paintings the older colleges get. They definitely give the college a fresher feel. There are also regular exhibitions on which students are free to go to.
  • The girls here are absolutely lovely and really supportive. They are not overly-competitive, so it makes studying a lot more enjoyable.
  • Different architecture
  • Really good, modern accommodation - you can generally get an en-suite every year if you want, all first years get en-suites and large, spacious rooms. Buckingham House has amazing, hotel-standard accommodation with huge kitchens
  • Sports grounds on site
  • Easy to get to a lot of the main sites - West Cambridge, Sidgwick, Downing, New Museums
  • Good pastoral support - something that is seriously lacking in some other colleges
  • Amazing and very popular Saturday Brunch
  • Generally very good catering facilities - all first year accommodation has a (admittedly fairly small) kitchen with all the essentials (hob, oven, microwave, cupboard each, rather small fridge, etc.) and all second year accommodation comes with decent kitchens too - the more modern accommodation blocks have very large kitchens with ovens etc., and most of the kitchens in old block have been refurbished to a really high standard (although they don't always have ovens, but generally this isn't an issue as most students just use the hob anyway)
  • Get fit cycling uphill to get there!
  • Gap year bursaries
  • Generous scholarships for receiving a 1st in any Tripos exam
  • A friendly, supportive space for female students and academics - a lot of emphasis is placed on challenging stereotypes about women
  • Gateway programme - a series of careers and academic workshops aimed to help you make the most of your time at Cambridge and think about your future, as well as teaching you how to tackle exams etc. These workshops are all free to attend and generally come with free cake, and you earn 'Gateway Credits' - if you get 100 credits (not particularly challenging, usually it's about 20 credits a session) you can apply for Gateway Challenges Funding towards summer projects/ travels etc.

Cons

  • Misconception that people from girls colleges are not as intelligent as people from mixed colleges - probably because of Con 2 below.
  • ~90% of people there were pooled and didn't pick it as a first choice
  • Different architecture - the modern, white and grey brick buildings are not to everyone's taste.
  • You have to cycle uphill to get there.
  • Overpriced accommodation - not much of a range in price between the luxury en-suites and small single rooms in old block. However, there is the option to share a 'split double' room which is significantly cheaper
  • Pretty expensive for things like food (~£3-4 a meal, £11.50 for formals), wine (£7.50), laundry (£3), Wifi (£24.53) etc.
  • Highest kitchen fixed charge (£200)
  • No dinner served on Saturdays - can sometimes get a bit crowded with everyone trying to cook in the kitchens. Mind you, at least we have decent kitchens...
  • Quite a long way from South Cambridge sites - e.g. the Lensfield Road Chemistry Department is a 15 minute cycle ride away

Newnham College (female)

Pros

  • Opposite the Sidgwick Site (where most of the Arts faculties are)
  • Attractive (old) buildings with beautiful, large gardens in which you are allowed to walk (sit, picnic) on the grass
  • The longest corridor in Europe
  • Accommodation on site all three years
  • Beautiful, beautiful student bedrooms, allocated by random ballot (as opposed to one based on grades in exams - Scholars' ballots) so that in your third year you are guaranteed a beautiful room usually with a sofa or armchairs and a garden view
  • Excellent kitchens and buttery (cafeteria) which was built only in 2009
  • All sports grounds on site, netball and tennis courts
  • Drama studio and an excellent college based drama society
  • A friendly atmosphere, rather than one which is based wholly on the attainment of firsts and thus encourages students to live in the library (*not* an exaggeration - at Christ's the library has showers...)
  • The pool table in the bar is free!
  • Emma Thompson went here
  • Sylvia Plath went here
  • Female sports teams aren't sidelined like in some other colleges, so teams get more support/funding than they sometimes do elsewhere

Cons

  • 5th most expensive college to live at
  • Everyone charged a flat rate of £1300 a term regardless of which room you're allocated, so no way of opting for cheaper accommodation if needed
  • Everyone assumes you were pooled
  • Has library fines
  • College atmosphere not as strong as in other Colleges as the all-girls thing makes people go elsewhere for mixed company.
  • Linked to the point above - not much of an atmosphere in the bar.
  • Constant jokes about single sex colleges.
  • Fines students heavily for not cleaning their room or not signing out at the end of term

Pembroke College

Pros

  • The food is probably some of the nicest in Cambridge
  • Oldest bowling green in use in existence in Europe
  • The holy grail that is Pembroke Brunch
  • As a scientist: close to all the lecture theatres
  • As an arts student: one of the best colleges in terms of reputation and supervisors, produces many starred firsts
  • Some of the friendliest porters you will ever meet
  • Accomodation for all 3 years (plus another 3 years if a clinical medical student)
  • Has travel grants and book grants ever year for students
  • Has research grants for summer work for students
  • Prof. Ken Smith (Prof of Medicine at Addenbrooke's hospital) is a fantastic contact to have as a clinical medic (he is your Director of Studies)
  • Can play croquet on green (during summer term)
  • Very quiet during exam term, which is a bonus for concentration!
  • Strong academic performance (2nd in 2013), without being a massive hot-house. You are still encouraged to do other things.
  • Pembroke Players (the drama soc) has one of the best reputations for student theatre
  • few tourists, slightly off the beaten track even though v central - tranquil atmosphere
  • Eric Spam Idle went here
  • Smoking no longer permitted in accommodation from 2015/16 onwards
  • Henry Moore sculpture outside main residential building
  • Food prices are reasonable (£1 for any side dish, around £3 for main courses)
  • Formal hall available every night, so the choice is always there and fits easily around your schedule

Cons

  • A Pembroke student tried to burn a £20 note in front of a homeless person
  • £180 noise violation fine
  • £70 fine for setting off the fire alarm
  • O staircase collapsed with a big hole in the middle of the staircase you need to jump over
  • Insufficient heating in many rooms on the main site in student accommodation
  • Scholar's ballot makes it difficult for arts and humanities students to get good rooms in later years
  • Most expensive pint in Cambridge
  • Food is good but overpriced
  • Bizarre looking sculpture in the middle of a court
  • Some accommodation is not central (e.g. on Barton road) - you may end up a long way from the prrtty college site
  • Overzealous bedders
  • Supervisors are very VERY keen, will keep you on your toes
  • Some rooms are rather old and tatty
  • Unlikely to be on main site in second year
  • Not on the river

Peterhouse

Pros

  • Has a proper tiered theatre
  • Looks really pretty
  • Incredibly atmospheric, quite dark hall
  • Lots of tradition
  • Obscenely rich (somewhere around £500,000 per undergraduate in endowments—the third richest college per head, after Trinity and John's). Lots of travel grants & awards
  • One of the nicest libraries in Cambridge with 65,000+ books: like everything in Peterhouse, "small and perfectly formed"
  • Close to sciences and engineering departments
  • Central and convenient
  • But at the same time that little bit too far away from King's for that many tourists to bother visiting
  • Great Deer Park that you can walk on (NB: no actual deer)
  • Excellent accommodation (and rooms are a max 4 minute walk away from college site, if not on the site itself)
  • The hall is the oldest secular building in Europe still used for its original purpose
  • The oldest college, which is quite cool I suppose
  • Croquet equipment may be loaned out
  • VERY helpful Admissions Department
  • The only college that has a points-based (for participation in College/uni life, also for exam results) room ballot - students are rewarded for more than just studying
  • Third years have the option of living in Old Court—right in College
  • The smallest college, so all of your year (plus Master, Dean, and porters) will know you by name

Cons

  • Gender imbalance 57% male 43% female
  • Formal food not that great
  • Very expensive food
  • Minimum hall attendance compulsory where you pay for a certain number of meals every term which are non-reimbursable
  • One of the highest kitchen fixed charges in Cambridge (£170 per term)
  • 4th worst college for state school access with only 55.6% coming from state schools
  • College cancelled the May Ball after 'poor exam performance' and tried to exclude people who got thirds
  • College suppressed protests by threatening students with fines
  • At the matriculation dinner a fellow told students that if they got a 2.ii they would have failed their families
  • Decides accommodation based on how many societies you're a part of so to be high up on the ballot, you'll have to be on the committee for many societies
  • Has library fines
  • The smallest college, so all of your year (plus Master, Dean, and porters) will know you by name; the skeletons in your closet will be set out for all to see
  • (Possibly) too much tradition, so a bit stuffy. Difficult to get things done. Explains why its mascot is the dodo
  • William Stone Building is a horrible-looking 60's accommodation tower. But it has nice views + en suites. The tallest undergraduate accommodation in Cambridge!

Queens' College

Pros

  • 3 years accommodation on site guaranteed, which means you can get to know people in the other years really well. (Most other colleges move people in 2nd year out to college owned houses or have off college site accommodation blocks for freshers/2nd years - e.g. Clare/Caius/Catz/Trin etc)
  • Good size,~160 a year.
  • Renowned for being one of the friendliest and most sociable colleges in Cambridge.
  • First Oxbridge College to pay employees the living wage.
  • Great location (center of town and close to lectures for pretty much all subjects.)
  • Not baraged by tourists like others nearby .
  • Super nice and friendly porters
  • Some beautiful old buildings and the mathematical bridge.
  • Quality, cheap formals and brunch. (Brunch is £2.60 for 8 pieces as of 2017)
  • Stephen Fry studied here.
  • Arts students: very near Sidgwick site arts faculties
  • Great for extracurriculars, Magsoc (music society) performs regularly at West Road Concert Hall, and all three football teams were promoted in 2015 for example.
  • Active QEnts society which host 5 bops a term in Lent and Michaelmas + film screenings + an evening garden party in May Week called Bounce
  • No Kitchen Fixed Charge or compulsory number of formals per term
  • Good size bar with pool tables, tvs and a dartboard
  • There are 3 squash courts on the main site

Cons

  • Some kitchens are very small, very few have freezers and none have ovens unlike some other colleges (Newnham/Medwards/Fitz)
  • Expensive laundry compared to other colleges (£1.40 for a wash)
  • Ballot changes mean you can no longer select other people to ballot with, meaning that you can't be assured of living with your friends
  • The changes to the room ballot also mean you could come last out of all ~300 students balloting in both first and second year
  • Has library fines
  • Bops cancelled for a term after someones vomit stained stonework in Cripps in 2015 (Bops have been safe as of 2017)
  • Cripps building is ugly
  • Some accommodation is shared walkthrough sets of rooms - one person has to walk through the other person's room to get to theirs.
  • Accommodation is quite expensive and they monitor your energy usage unlike other colleges (Accom ranges from £1050 a term to ~£1800 mainly dependent on whether the room's ensuite or not)
  • Lots of tourists on Silver Street looking at the mathematical bridge
  • Nobody knows where the apostrophe goes
  • ^It goes after the s you effeminate English prick
  • Don't choose them if you're already at uni, whether in the UK or elsewhere, and are studying the same (or a very similar) subject to the one you're applying for.
  • College sometimes seem to prefer hosting conferences than acting within the interest of the undergraduate student body
  • Rubbish JCR room (but good bar makes up for this)
  • Very small gym

Robinson College

Pros

  • Modern, comfortable building with plenty of heating and guaranteed accommodation for all 3 years on site.
  • In the main college block there's a maximum of 3 people per bathroom, although almost all rooms have 2 or fewer per bathroom and many rooms are en-suite (more toilets per undergraduate than any other college).
  • Relaxed atmosphere (you can walk on the grass!) and the gardens are extremely nice in summer.
  • Pleasant, quiet location in nice surroundings well away from the tourists.
  • Nearest college to the University Library and CURTC (uni tennis club) at Burrells Walk.
  • Close to the university astroturf (hockey) and athletics track, as well at the university rugby pitch. Free-to-use squash courts literally 1 minute's walk from the porter's lodge.
  • Closest college to the West Cambridge Uni Gym ( ~5-6min cycle) & Cavendish labs
  • 5 min walk/ 2min cycle to Sidgewick site (Lots of humanities lectures + ~half medicine lectures here)
  • Lots of socialising between years, which doesn't happen at all colleges.
  • Excellent canteen and formal food (Joint best with Pembroke a few years ago)
  • Cool porters.
  • 60 inch television (with free access to consoles through the Video Game Society) and incredibly comfortable beanbags in the JCR.
  • Jelly Society.
  • Free films in the Auditorium every Sunday.
  • No tourists
  • Robert Webb went here
  • Nick Clegg studied here

Cons

  • 6th most expensive college to live at
  • Gender imbalance 60% male 40% female
  • Worst college regarding state school access with only 47.4% of people coming from state schools
  • May Ball headliner came on stage in blackface
  • Shots banned at bops
  • Not for people who don't like red
  • College doesn't have much money so you don't get luxuries like college-owned punts, a proper gym or much in the way of bursaries.
  • Because of the modern facilities and college's skintness, rents are expensive.
  • No cash machines or shops nearby
  • Former english professor here was a pedo
  • Relatively far away from the action, really. ~15 minute walk to the centre of town/ 7-8 min science
  • Nick Clegg studied here
  • Hate for the Lib dems is evident

St Catharine's College

Pros

Accommodation

  • Amazing accommodation at lower than average rents, guaranteed for the duration of your course
  • Some rooms have staircases and pianos!
  • Some rooms have a mini fridge for you to store all kinds of goodies in!
  • Some rooms have whiteboards to assist with your work
  • First-year accommodation is incredibly spacious
  • Second-year accommodation is really good: big, modern rooms in flats of 4 or 5 with proper kitchens (ovens etc) rather than college gyp rooms, plus it is right next to Sidgwick Site so extremely useful if you study Law, English, History, Economics, Languages, Philosophy or Music & don't like getting up too early in the morning

Wealth

  • Cheapest college in Cambridge concerning living costs according to the Tab
  • Up to £1000 on top of the Cambridge bursary plus up to £5000 for overseas students & even £100 - £200 if you achieve a First
  • Generous with travel grants and sports bursaries
  • Assets of over £150,000 per student

People

  • Has a rep for being one of the most social, friendly and relaxed colleges
  • Goldilocks size. Roughly 130 students per year. Not too big to feel unknown, still large enough to meet lots of new people
  • Exactly 50:50 split of genders, perfect balance of private/state educated & Home/EU + International students who are all welcome
  • Really helpful porters

Food

  • Very good food with a wide variety of meat and vegetarian options and only college with a cheese course for formals

Location

  • Main college site is very central & one of the best locations in Cambridge. 2 min ride from Sainsbury's, Nando's, Pizza Hut, Downing (Science) site; 3 mins from the Sedgwick (Arts & Humanities) site

Opportunities

  • Has a Careers Dinner to help students secure spring weeks and internships

Socials

  • Ridiculously cheap Garden Parties and May Balls so everyone can afford to go!

Bar

  • 2nd best bar in Cambridge. Awesome air-conditioning. Can play on the Xbox One, Pool or Table football

Academics

  • Came 1st overall in medicine
  • Came 2nd overall in economics
  • One of the best colleges for NatSci - particularly for chemistry largely due to the efforts of world famous Dr. Wothers
  • Unusual in that you tend to get fellows supervising you instead of PhD students in 1st year subjects such as NatSci
  • Engineering fellow Dr. Jenni Sidey is an astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency

Free stuff

  • Many opportunities for free food such as Smoothie Soc, Movie Night, Welfare tea, coffee & pizza ;)
  • Does well in the Student Switch Off campaign winning 100s of tubs of Ben & Jerry's for the college

Sports

  • Great sporting atmosphere. Always has one of the biggest turnout at sports matches!
  • Excellent hockey teams - with its own all weather AstroTurf
  • Superb sports facilities including extensive playing fields; squash, badminton & tennis courts; a gym; and a renovated boathouse

Societies

  • Has the most Mental Health (Student Minds) reps of any college

Facilities

  • Great internet coverage. It even connects outside the college
  • Catz has a brand new JCR with new sound system
  • Free and well equipped gym
  • New McGrath Centre also has practice studios for musicians & new auditorium for events
  • Very secure underground bike shed so they’re less likely to be stolen

Library

  • One of the only colleges with 2 libraries
  • Brand new 24hr library
  • No library fines
  • Sherlock library is one of the prettiest old libraries at Cambridge

History

  • Once a year when the ducklings hatch in spring, the college specially opens its gates to allow them to pass to the river
  • Does a lot for Lower 6th including Medicine masterclasses in June & the C3L6
  • First Fairtrade college in Cambridge
  • 1 of 3 colleges to pay ALL workers the living wage
  • Only college where black students had the same admissions rates as white students according to the FoI data published in the Guardian
  • First college to implement degendered dress code for formal dinners
  • Was the only Oxbridge college to have a girls’ choir (Merton College, Oxford have one now)

Alumni

  • Jeremy Paxman, John Addenbrooke, David Harding, Rebecca Hall, Richard Ayoade, Ben Miller, Rona Fairhead, Peter Boizot & the guy who gave Jeremy Corbyn a pringle all went here
  • Olympic rowing Gold medalist, George Nash, read Engineering here
  • The Master, Professor Sir Mark Welland, was part of the team that developed one of the first scanning tunneling microscopes with IBM
  • Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen) studied here

Cons

  • The rooms can get a bit hot during summer
  • Architecture is a mix of styles making it look less impressive than nearby old colleges
  • The dining hall is pine-panelled, not as impressive as those in many of the older colleges
  • The lawn could be smoother or more closely cut
  • Smaller than other colleges but it means you get to know everyone better
  • Not as many famous alumni as some colleges
  • The crest is not that interesting. Just a wheel
  • Can't walk on the grass until the end of the year or you're walking with a fellow ;)
  • The chapel and choir aren't as big as other colleges
  • People always misspell the name

St Edmund's College (mature students, undergraduates and graduates)

Pros

  • Mature, laid-back atmosphere - students and fellows
  • Next to the curry-mile
  • Known for being a very social college- hosts some of the best social events (Halloween, Oktoberfest- loads of people turn up so go to those!)
  • Large choice of en-suite, modern accommodation
  • Excellent sporting tradition
  • Very diverse international student body with a good proportion of British students
  • It's not the wealthiest college, but they appear to subsidise students well- all mature undergrads get an automatic £1,000 Santander Award and a £400 Access to Learning Start-Up Grant (see their website, both awards are non-repayable)

Cons

  • Who charges for WiFi?
  • Nobody ever knows where it is as its location is 'hidden' despite being quite close to the centre of town
  • Lack of heavyweight academic reputation
  • As with other less well-off colleges, accommodation and food is expensive
  • Quite a high proportion of male students, mostly studying the sciences. Great if you're female...
  • Or gay. Its 2016 no need to be heteronormative.

St John's College

Pros

  • Most supervisions are in college because we have so many fellows
  • 24 hour library (with Cadbury machine)
  • Best of both worlds: entrance located in the old town, but it spans all the way to the Backs
  • Second richest college after Trinity College: lots of bursaries and grants, for example:
    • The Learning and Research Grant will subsidise 50% of books etc. (anything course-related, including computers!) up to £300 (£500/year for postgrads)
    • A variety of Travel Grants.
  • Holds the oldest, biggest and most infamous May Ball (Daily Mail covers it every year) which has been ranked as the world's 7th best party according to Time Magazine and 3rd in the same classification by Vanity Fair.
  • Cheap, decent food in the buttery (http://johnsbuttery.soc.srcf.net)
  • Sporty - very good for rugby, the sports pitches are right next to the college (unlike most colleges) and its one of only two colleges with their own astroturf pitch!
  • Great facilities (huge sports grounds) and standards of rooms - can stay in college for 3 years. It's rich.
  • College-owned punts
  • Free laundry!
  • Great chaplain and chapel
  • World-famous choir and great music scene (lots of concerts going on in the Master's Lodge, Divinity School, etc.)
  • AMAZING bar! Very cheap prices and definitely one of the better college bars in Cam
  • Amazing formal hall. Lots of people want swaps here!
    • Lots of "special" Halls, like Harry Potter Superhall, Chinese New Year Superhall, etc.
  • "Professor" Jimmy Edwards studied here
  • Has a ‘babysitting’ scheme for drunk students
  • Has a community service' scheme instead of fines for misdemeanours
  • Dedicated prayer room in D staircase, Cripps

Cons

  • £20 for Wifi per term!
  • Gender imbalance 59% male 41% female
  • 1 of 2 colleges not to fly the LGBT+ flag on 1 February
  • Really expensive kitchen fixed charge (£167 per term)
  • Food is overpriced
  • Has library fines
  • Scholar's ballot makes it difficult for arts and humanities students to get good rooms in later years
  • Cripps (the post-modern building at the back of the College is either 'ugly' or 'the most beautiful building to come out of the 1960's - in all fairness its a lot nicer than the other modern buildings most Colleges have
  • Inconveniently large. Takes forever to get from one side of college to another.
  • Really unfriendly porters that stop friends from other colleges enterring
  • Has a reputation for being very posh. All the students say "I'd rather be at Oxford than St John's"
  • Some of the rooms are really grim
  • Has a ‘babysitting’ scheme for drunk students
  • Has a community service' scheme instead of fines for misdemeanours
  • It's right next door to Trinity
  • Lots of tourists fdfjkfdskfjdklfjdslkfj
  • It's St. Johns
  • ^^^

Selwyn College

Pros

  • Next door to the Sidgwick Site (where most of the Arts faculties are)
  • Really pretty gardens and you can walk on some of the grass
  • Has a yearly Snowball and a May Ball in some years
  • Closer than many colleges to the Computer Lab
  • Beautiful buildings in Old Court
  • Very friendly college, not too big or too small
  • Hugh Laurie studied here!
  • Close to West Cambridge Site and Centre for Mathematical Sciences
  • Recently refurbished Cripps Court for all 1st and some 2nd years
  • Our gowns are distinctive and pretty!
  • Next to Music Faculty and West Road Concert Hall (enjoy world-class concerts at night and free Lunchtime Concerts!)
  • Close to the University Library
  • All undergraduate accommodation within college
  • Won't be distracted by tourists
  • Friendly porters :)
  • Gryffindor colours ;)
  • Salad bar cheap and offering great choices (1 quid for a green bowl, 1.4 for a mixed bowl!); many people come for meals

Cons

  • 2nd most expensive college to live at after Downing (more than £250 per week on average)
  • 2nd worst gender ratio 70% male, 30% female
  • £35 per term for WiFi :(
  • Highest library fines
  • Expensive laundry
  • Overpriced bar
  • Most expensive food (£6 per meal)
  • 4th-year accommodation limited to 2 staircases, rather than the whole college as before
  • Mice were found in one of the staircases
  • Senior Tutor blocked condoms in welcome packs for Freshers
  • not near shops / cash machines
  • further than many colleges to some sciences lectures
  • Old Court accommodation is average
  • Not too famous
  • No restaurants around (but the nearest ones are just an 800-meter walk away)
  • Hall can get a little busy at lunchtime (many arts students from other colleges come to Selwyn for lunch)
  • Everyone wears gowns here which is a bit silly
  • People assume you got pooled

Sidney Sussex College

Pros

  • Opposite Sainsbury's - this is amazing!
  • Lovely big gardens in which you are allowed to sit on the grass.
  • Very friendly atmosphere.
  • The Fellows are very helpful and supportive
  • Very beautiful buildings
  • The Porters are very kind and helpful
  • Great community feel of community thanks to small size and many student run organisations
  • The college bar is student run and is therefore one of the cheapest in Cambridge
  • Known for possessing beautiful people.
  • Huge gardens which is great for summer.

Cons

  • High kitchen fixed charge (£157 per term)
  • Has library fines
  • Unremarkable - people often don't know which college it is.
  • Sidney street is one of main shopping areas and gets very congested with both shoppers and tourists (especially on Saturdays) and is one way even for cyclists.
  • Not the most competitive in sports

Trinity College

Pros

  • Richest Oxbridge college by far - endowed with well over £1 billion!
  • Lots of grants, accommodation is excellent and reasonably priced and facilities are good
  • 6th-cheapest College for accommodation (an average they deliberately try to maintain) and arguably the best value for money on rooms out of all Colleges (except for the fact that kitchens can be dismal)
  • Amazing academic reputation - top of the Tompkins Table for 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 (with a record percentage of firsts, as in subsequent years), 2015 & 2016, at which point the Tompkins table was sort of abolished / made unofficial - establishing in perpetuity that Trinity is the most academic College.
  • More Nobel prize winners than most countries (32), though not so many in recent decades - 'only' one since 2000.
  • Lots of famous alumni, including Newton, Lord Byron, Wittgenstein and Amartya Sen.
  • Excellent location. Most of the college is right in the centre of town, but it also spans the Backs and has land past the UL. Whewell’s, Wolfson, Blue Boar and Pearce are only about a one minute walk from Sainsbury’s.
  • The college has a lot of punts it rents out cheaply to its students.
  • Lots of green spaces - Fellows’ garden that students can walk in and large lawns on the Backs - great for relaxing by the river, especially in the summer.
  • If you get a first you get all sorts of privileges, such as being put in a separate room ballot, getting several free dinners, getting invited to a couple of feasts, and a sizeable cash reward.
  • If you get a first in your final year, Trinity will fully fund your master's degree.
  • Trinity has the largest college library with over 300,000 volumes and the beautiful Wren Library, which students are allowed to use as study space in exam term.
  • Being a large college, it's very cosmopolitan.
  • Has a fantastic and supportive TCSU (Trinity College Students' Union), who are particularly great in Fresher's Week and run events all throughout the year.
  • Has the original, biggest and (many would say) best 'May Ball' out of all Colleges, though also one of the most expensive ones. Happens after exams each year and as undergrad you get guaranteed tickets (the envy of all of Cambridge).
  • Has a newly-renovated (2014) JCR with new comfy sofas, a new 65 inch TV with Sky Sports, sound system, Netflix and a PS4
  • The bar has also been recently renovated (2016), now (finally) has a great atmosphere and is massively popular with students.

Cons

  • 1 of 2 colleges not to fly the LGBT+ flag on 1 February
  • 3rd most expensive formals
  • Food in hall somewhat more expensive and not as nice as elsewhere. Also one of the highest kitchen fixed charge (£171 per term)
  • May Ball had clear up workers take on 10-hour shifts for no monetary payment
  • May Ball offering below the minimum wage
  • Expensive laundry, though this dwindles in comparison to cheap accommodation for total living costs.
  • Some of the washing machines and dryers are fairly old.
  • Massive gender imbalance (~66-33% men-women), though this is a consequence of its having lots of Maths and Science students and reflects the gender imbalance of Science and Maths students in Cambridge more broadly. Humanities subjects actually accept slightly more women than men in Trinity in most years.
  • Lots of mathematicians and physicists
  • Scholar's ballot makes it difficult for arts and humanities students to get good rooms in later years, though this may reflect that Maths and Science students on average do better in their degree and get the privileges associated with it.
  • The largest college in terms of undergrads, so it has a slightly different atmosphere to other colleges and you don't get to know and gel with everyone as easily as in some of the smaller, closely-knit colleges.
  • Lots of tourists around, especially in the summer, although the college now charges them entry so numbers have gone down.
  • The atmosphere tends to get a little serious and intense in college around exam term.
  • It's next door to St. John's

Trinity Hall

Pros

  • One of the smallest, prettiest, friendliest colleges.
  • Great location in the centre of Cambridge - both Downing and Sidgwick sites nearby, and very near to all the clubs, Sainsburys and the union.
  • Quite strong academically, 8th on the most recent Tompkins Table.
  • On the river.
  • Fifth-richest, so good financial support.
  • Fifth-oldest ( founded in 1350)
  • Cheapest accommodation in Cambridge, starting at around £60 a week (the most expensive for undergrads is around £135 a week, which is the same as the average rent in a lot of other colleges!) .
  • One of the best mixes (male / female, state / private).
  • Reputation for having quirky people.
  • Close Community.
  • Very modern, beautiful Jerwood library, with big windows projecting over the river so you have great views while studying!
  • You can walk on the grass (and eat on the lawn when it's nice and sunny!!).
  • Unpretentious.
  • Strong sporting reputation.
  • Great view over the River Cam, and you can go punting on the 2 college owned punts.
  • Andrew Marr went here!
  • Stephen Hawking did his PhD here
  • About a 5 minute walk from the University Library.
  • Beautiful, airy hall which has recently been refurbished.
  • New block of accommodation being made in the centre of town, with 72 rooms, all en suite and double bed. To be completed July 2016
  • People assume you go to the real Trinity


Cons

  • Expensive bar
  • Has library fines
  • Almost all second years and some third years live further out, about a 10 minute bike ride away, up near the hill colleges, but some of this accommodation is en suite and very modern.
  • Being such a small college, only first years and some lucky third years get to live on central site.
  • Kitchen situation isn't the dream at central site, usually comes with a kettle and microwave, so can be harder if you want to cook for yourself.
  • Some people find it claustrophobic as everyone knows everyone very well.
  • Often mistaken for larger neighbour, Trinity College - definitely not the most famous college! (Though Tit Hall did come first)
  • Although library overlooking river and bridge can be nice, it can be distracting to have tourists looking in at you when you're trying to work!
  • Laundry services could be a lot better
  • Formals are relatively expensive.
  • Dingy underground JCR

Wolfson College (mature students, undergraduates and graduates)

Pros

  • Out of the centre, away from tourists
  • On site accommodation for all three years (but see con below)
  • They put on really good comedy nights called "Wolfson Howlers"
  • Close to Sidgwick site (where most of the Arts faculties are)
  • Close to University Library
  • 24 hour college library
  • Formal halls continue (one evening a week) in the holidays, good if you're around Cambridge during the break (e.g. graduate students)
  • Tennis court and decent gym
  • Student run bar
  • Cosmopolitan college
  • Very friendly atmosphere.

Cons

  • Far from centre, quite inconvenient
  • Buildings are modern so it doesn't have the traditional architecture vibe.
  • Some of the rooms are very small.

This page (which you can edit) is part of The Student Room's information and advice about Oxford and Cambridge (known collectively as Oxbridge). Whilst the two universities have have much in common, they also have many differences. Our information on the application procedure and interviews applies to both.

If you have questions, or just want to chat, come join us in TSR's Oxford forum and Cambridge forum.

University of Oxford: Guide & Discussion Forum
How to choose a CollegeCollege Pros and Cons
A Week in the Life: of an Arts Student or of a Science Student
FAQ: CollegesApplyingUniversity Life

University of Cambridge: Guide & Discussion Forum
How to choose a CollegeCollege Pros and Cons
A Week in the Life: of an Arts Student or of a Science Student

As well as the Cambridge Uni Guide we have a page on Cambridge Slang. Also see Standard IB offers for Cambridge.

Courses (not all have pages): Anglo-Saxon, Norse and CelticEngineeringEnglishGeographyHistoryLawMathematicsModern and Medieval LanguagesMusicNatural SciencesPsychologyPolitics, Psychology and Sociology

Colleges: Christ'sChurchillClareClare Hall (graduates) • Corpus ChristiDarwin (graduates) • DowningEmmanuelFitzwilliamGirtonGonville and CaiusHomertonHughes Hall (mature) • JesusKing'sLucy Cavendish (mature. undergrads are female) • MagdaleneMurray Edwards (female) • Newnham (female) • PembrokePeterhouseQueens'RobinsonSt Catharine'sSt Edmund's (mature) • St John'sSelwynSidney SussexTrinityTrinity HallWolfson (mature)

Look at Personal Statements used to apply to Cambridge

Try Learn together, TSR's study area

40,119
revision notes

46,022
mindmaps

47,905
crosswords

16,669
quizzes

create
a study planner

thousands
of discussions


Poll
What is your favourite film genre?
Study resources

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE